Eleventh Circuit Holds that Referencing Sealed Documents is Not Proper Notice

The Eleventh Circuit upheld a win for the insurer under a claims-made-and-reported policy in Crowley Mar. Corp. v. Nat’l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA, No. 18-10953, 2019 WL 3294003 (11th Cir. July 23, 2019), finding that the insured did not provide timely notice. In so holding, the court rejected the insured’s argument that it provided timely notice by sending a letter to the insurer referencing an affidavit which the insured claimed alleged wrongful conduct against the insured, but was sealed, preventing the insurer from confirming the insured’s claim for
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Florida’s Assignment of Benefits Reform Bill Becomes Law Ahead of Peak Hurricane Season

Florida’s new Assignment of Benefits (AOB) reform bill became law on July 1, 2019, a short time ahead of the peak of this year’s hurricane season. Time will tell if it results in the amelioration of the AOB litigation epidemic, fueled by Florida’s Attorney’s Fee Statute Section 627.428, awarding attorney’s fees to prevailing assignees in insurance disputes. The attorney’s fee statute is credited with having incentivized Florida contractors to litigate even minor differences[1] with insurers over repair work performed or
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What Is Modern Warfare? Ninth Circuit Rules War Exclusions Do Not Preclude Coverage for First Party Loss Caused by Hamas Rocket Attacks

On July 12, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found two “war” exclusions inapplicable, under California law, to a loss caused by 2014 hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Universal Cable Productions, LLC v. Atlantic Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-56672, 2019 WL 3049034 (July 12, 2019). In doing so, the court overturned the Central District of California’s award of summary judgment in favor of Atlantic Specialty Insurance Company. The parties’ dispute arose out of Atlantic’s refusal to indemnify Universal for
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Second Circuit Finds Insurer’s 52-Day Delay in Disclaiming Coverage Did Not Violate Insurance Law Section 3420(d)(2)’s Timely Disclaimer Requirement

The court of appeals for the Second Circuit recently confirmed that a liability insurer that waits to deny coverage so that it can investigate the facts giving rise to the disclaimer will not be estopped from denying coverage under Insurance Law Section 3420(d)(2), provided that the insurer does not use the investigation as a tactic to delay the disclaimer. United Fin. Cas. Co. v. Country-Wide Ins. Co., No. 18-3022, 2019 WL 2724267 (2d Cir. July 1, 2019). Section 3420(d)(2) requires
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Texas Supreme Court Opens the Door for Statutory Damages After Appraisal

Good faith use of the appraisal process to resolve legitimate valuation disputes under a property policy is no longer an absolute defense under Texas law to claims for statutory delay damages. In a pair of decisions regarding appraisal, the Texas Supreme Court held that when appraisal is invoked after the commencement of litigation, the prompt payment of the award by an insurer precludes statutory bad faith claims under Chapter 541 of the Texas Insurance Code, but potentially allows for statutory
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When a Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch: An Appraiser’s Bias May Cost the Policyholder in the Long Run

In a long-awaited decision, Colorado’s highest court ruled a designated appraiser in a property insurance dispute must remain impartial and free from favoring one party over the other. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the policy language required appraisers to be “unbiased, disinterested, and unswayed by personal interest.” This decision is a win for the insurance industry, although the Supreme Court created a framework that is certain to lead to disputes about an appraiser’s partiality in the future. The decision
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Part 1: The California Consumer Privacy Act — What Insurers Need to Know

Assembly Bill No. 375, better known as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), is likely the most robust and sweeping privacy law in the United States. This is not surprising as California is notoriously at the forefront of passing privacy legislation, even though close to 20 other states are also taking steps to pass similar legislation. The CCPA, which becomes effective January 1, 2020, creates a number of consumer rights regarding the collection, storage, selling, and processing of personal information,
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Pennsylvania Federal Court Reinforces The Principle That Liability Policies Insure Against Legal Obligations Owed To Others

Defense and indemnity obligations owed under liability policies depend on the allegations made in the underlying lawsuit. In NVR, Inc. v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co., 2019 WL 989393 (W.D. Pa. Mar. 1, 2019), NVR, an additional insured under a CGL policy sought coverage for two lawsuits that arose out of a heater explosion at a construction site. NVR was the defendant in personal injury litigation. In a separate lawsuit, NVR sought recovery for property damage that it incurred due to the
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Fifth Circuit: False Imprisonment Caused “Bodily Injury” During Subsequent Policy Periods Sufficient to Trigger Coverage

In a notable deviation from decisions across the country, the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that injuries from false imprisonment could be sustained after the actual false imprisonment itself ended, triggering two insurers’ duty to defend. Travelers Indem. Co. v. Mitchell, No. 17-60291, 2019 WL 2276694 (5th Cir. May 29, 2019). The insurers, whose policies did not come into existence until after the false imprisonment ended, were found obligated to defend a Mississippi County in a civil rights lawsuit stemming from
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Eleventh Circuit Holds Unlicensed Professional Was Not Engaging In “Professional Services”

The courts frequently apply insuring agreements broadly. However, in a recent decision, a court narrowly applied the definition of “professional services” to restrict coverage. Specifically, in Chapman v. Ace American Insurance Company, the Eleventh Circuit determined the services provided by an individual holding himself out as a counselor did not constitute “professional services.”     The underlying lawsuit concerned Mark and Barbara Chapman’s ten-year old son who was diagnosed with ADHD and had a history of behavioral problems. The Chapman family
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